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Would You Board At A Barn With A Low Ceiling?

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  • Would You Board At A Barn With A Low Ceiling?

    Would you board at a barn with a low ceiling? I'm not sure of the exact height, I'm going to look at it on tuesday. I am looking at renting this place and the owner was honest and said the ceiling is low. I'm wondering if the low ceiling would turn away potential boarders.

  • #2
    I wouldn't if there were the possibility of a horse bonking its head. Some of those old cow barns had low ceilings. On the other hand, an old bank barn with a not too low ceiling is a cozier place in winter.


    • #3
      Depends on how low, how well ventilated, how the light fixtures are positioned, and what else you have to offer.

      I have boarded at barns with low ceilings. My biggest worry was how close the lights were to my horse's head, and how poor the circulation was. It also made for a dark barn...but it had other reasons for wanting to be there (location, price, and good coaching)

      The ceilings weren't so low that the horse could touch it while standing, but they would if they did a little rear. I imagine an 18 hand horse would have struggled, but we didn't have any of those!

      also consider if you are going to use a tractor in the barn...will it fit?
      In memory of those low ceilings, my barn has 16 foot ceilings....much nicer!
      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


      • #4
        Not if my horse could hit anything if he went up.
        Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.


        • #5
          On moving my 16.2 horse into a new place once I immediately realized that the shades on the stalls (typical SW pipe corral) were lower than I would have liked. Maybe 7'6" or 8' tall?

          It was always too low for my inner safety monitor. Would not choose that height if given the opportunity but we had just moved in and delivered the first month's check so we stayed. Everything else was legit.

          We did not use the grooming area with same-height shade in the event we had a pull-back, but surprisingly my horse seemed to do okay with this setup in his stall. Probably because it was a low-key place and maybe also he discovered the it the hard way.


          • #6
            If the barn is well ventilated, it wouldn't deter me

            My vet's farm has low ceilings, but only in the stalls. I think it used to be an old cow barn. She swears by them. The stalls do stay so much warmer in the winter. She probably has a 30' wide aisle and the ceilings above the aisle are 18ish ft. She also has industrial fans built into the walls above the barn doors to move the hot air out during the summer. So she really does get the best of both worlds.


            • #7
              My horse lives in an old pig barn. So you can imagine how low the ceilings are. I have had him there for 7 years and it has never been an issue. Sure, he has hit his head a few times but, hes learned the limitations.

              If you have a horse that rears in a barn ( or anywhere!) , I think you have bigger issues than low ceilings!

              Honestly, it was an exisiting space and serves it purpose well. If I had the money to build sure, I would make the ceiling higher but it certainly is not a make or break point for me.


              • #8
                Originally posted by CHT View Post
                Depends on how low, how well ventilated, how the light fixtures are positioned, and what else you have to offer.
                Ditto. I would consider really low ceilings in the "negative" column, but it could certainly be outweighed by other positives so long as the light fixtures/fans/etc don't pose a threat.
                The best is yet to come


                • #9
                  I boarded my first horse (as a teen) at a renovated chicken coop barn out of necessity. Better yet, my horse had a propensity for rearing. She only reared once at the chicken coop barn, quick learner that she was.
                  The ceiling was angled, and the stalls were in the middle, aisle around the outside. So the aisles were the lowest. In the stall it really wasn't as much of an issue, unless you were right by the door.


                  • #10
                    I was in an old wood barn in Wisconsin for a while that had very low ceilings over the dark stalls, the aisle a bit taller, but still kind of low and we had big hunter/jumpers.

                    We didn't have any problem from the low ceiling, but the whole barn, while cozy, to me seemed a fire trap.
                    I don't think they ever had a fire happen there, but if it did, it would have been very bad.

                    I don't think a low ceiling is that bad, as long as the barn itself is airy and safe otherwise.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SuperAlter View Post
                      My horse lives in an old pig barn. So you can imagine how low the ceilings are. I have had him there for 7 years and it has never been an issue. Sure, he has hit his head a few times but, hes learned the limitations.

                      If you have a horse that rears in a barn ( or anywhere!) , I think you have bigger issues than low ceilings!

                      Uh - how lucky for your horse that his "hitting his head a few times" didn't kill him & that you were comfortable with it until you felt he'd "learned his limitations". How sad for your horse. Are you remotely aware of how many horses die by clocking their heads on low ceilings, low-hanging light fixtures, etc.? Apparently not.

                      And one doesn't have to have a chronic "rearer" in a barn or elsewhere to have a situation where a horse goes up.

                      I would NEVER board a horse at any place that had low ceilings - pig barn, goat barn, whatever. Unless the place is boarding ponies only, I'd consider it negligent to board a horse in a situation with low ceilings.

                      OP - DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY, or damage your reputation. Anyone who would consider a boarding business with a low-ceiling barn is just BEGGING for liability issues.


                      • #12
                        Despite Bacardi's "dire warnings", I'd not hesitate to board in a barn with low ceilings (as in tall enough for my horse to hold his head up, but not rear). My trainer boarded us in a lovely old bank barn with lowish ceilings over the stalls. Never an issue. And, yup, one guy did a bit of a half rear and as his ears and poll touch the ceiling he dropped right down and didn't do it again. Loved that barn. Huge stalls (12 x 20 was average), wide aisle, warm and cozy in the winter, cool in the summer, horses were calm and quiet there.

                        Go, visit, if all else is good, go for it!
                        Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                        • #13
                          I wouldn't hesitate as long as the grooming areas do not have over head lights they could hit.

                          My gelding is 17,2" and has no issues in his bank barn. He hit his head once and learned not to throw his head. Heck trailers are only max 8' high so most horses at one point are enclosed in a small space with low ceilings.


                          • #14
                            The low ceilings themselves might not be an issue, especially for my 15.1 Lusitano, but it's what tends to go with the low ceilings that would be potential deal breakers for me.

                            Most have already been mentioned; possible poor ventilation, fire trap especially if hay is stored over the stalls on those low ceilings , dark and gloomy atmosphere, terrible heat during the summer. Often those old-style low stalls are also heavily barred so the horses cannot stick their heads out and look around.

                            I also have 16' ceilings now and love the airy atmosphere, even in a cold winter.


                            • #15
                              My barn as well is completely open. No loft, & thus 16'-20' open ceilings I wouldn't have it any other way.

                              And again - those of you who feel it's "okay" for your horse to go up & smack his head a few times & thus "learn his lesson" - good luck to you.


                              • #16
                                I have low ceilings, old cow barn, I wasn't at all worried about the height when all I had was Haffies, but poor Ben looks a little tall in there. The one door is very low, so anytime I bring him through that way I just ask him to drop his head before he walks through.

                                Are you remotely aware of how many horses die by clocking their heads on low ceilings, low-hanging light fixtures, etc.? Apparently not.
                                Nope, couldn't even guess, are you going to provide me with numbers and the evidence to back it up?
                                I'm not sure if I grew out of stupid or ran out of brave.

                                Practicing Member of the Not too Klassy for Boxed Wine Clique


                                • #17
                                  My new boarding barn has low ceilings...and a low doorway into the barn. The low doorway bothers me because I can easily imagine my horse lifting his head up and hitting it. Upon investigation, the door, which slides us, has rubber padding along the bottom. But the metal track it runs up on is on the low ceiling and is NOT padded.

                                  I'm not too worried, though. My guy has never reared in the 13 years I've owned him *knock on wood* and he actually seems more comfortable in low ceiling barns than in high, open ones. There is one area I won't tie him since there's a piece of metal that juts out directly above it, but other than that, it's not a big deal.


                                  • #18
                                    I boarded at a place with low ceilings once. (Roughly 7 feet.) I found in some ways a low ceiling is safer than a medium ceiling. The horses tend to be a little more aware that something is overhead and that rearing is a bad idea. If they do go up, they don't have as much momentum when they hit. Nor can they get high enough to fall over backwards.

                                    Things I'd be concerned about: lights within reach of horses, poor ventilation, and whether the horse feels claustrophobic. I briefly owned one horse which flat out refused the enter the stall. My current mare, however, was fine in the same stall.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Bacardi1 View Post
                                      Are you remotely aware of how many horses die by clocking their heads on low ceilings, low-hanging light fixtures, etc.? Apparently not.
                                      I'm not even remotely aware. How many?

                                      I've never known (or heard of) a horse dying from hitting it's head on a low ceiling or light fixture. The closest I come to that in real-life experience is a horse that reared in a big empty parking lot, fell over backwards and hit his head on the ground, and died.

                                      I'm sure it happens, but I would chalk it up to "freak accident".
                                      Why must you chastise my brilliant idea with facts and logic? **picks up toys (and wine) and goes home**


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Bacardi1 View Post
                                        Are you remotely aware of how many horses die by clocking their heads on low ceilings, low-hanging light fixtures, etc.? Apparently not.
                                        I'm not. How many?

                                        I've boarded at tons of old cow barns (bank barns) with a variety of ceiling heights. As long as the lighting fixtures have a protective "cage" around them, and as other said, the barn is otherwise well ventilated and well lit, I have no issue with it.

                                        Second the poster that said if you have a horse who is repeatedly rearing and smacking it's head, there are some other problems there and I don't think higher ceilings would fix the issue nearly as effectively as a lower ceiling. Just like a tacked noseband deters a horse from throwing it's head...I wonder how many horses die each year from tacked nosebands?